9/5 Gutteridge's WWE NXT Review: Sami Zayn vs. Jack Swagger, Corey Graves vs. Rick Victor, Alexander Rusev vs. Mason Ryan, and Bayley and Charlotte vs. Alicia Fox and Aksana
By Darren Gutteridge
WWE NXT on Sky Sports 3
Taped August 22nd in Winter Park, Florida
[Q1] After titles, Bayley made her entrance for Divas tag action. Her partner, Charlotte, followed her out, and as Tom Phillips and Alex Riley checked in on commentary, their opponents Alicia Fox and Aksana made their way to the ring...
1. Bayley and Charlotte vs. Alicia Fox and Aksana. Aksana motioned for a hug from Bayley, but as Bayley approached she got knee’d in the gut. The main roster Divas isolated Bayley with quick tags in their half of the ring. Bayley eventually got a hug from Aksana after ducking a clothesline, and turned it into belly to belly suplex. Charlotte got the hot tag as Fox also tagged in.
Charlotte went for her crazy pin attempt, but Fox either rolled out to quickly or Charlotte didn’t put enough pressure on her. Charlotte got shot to the corner, and awkwardly flipped over it onto the apron. She went top rope, but Fox threw her off, only for Charlotte to roll through the landing and hit Fox with a clothesline. Charlotte put Fox on her shoulders, but Bayley managed to tag herself in before she could continue.
Charlotte got angry, but got kicked by Fox before she could say much. Fox sent Bayley to the opposite corner, but Bayley managed to duck the follow up big boot, which caught Aksana on the apron instead. Bayley took advantage by rolling up Fox for the 1-2-3...
Bayley and Charlotte defeated Alicia Fox and Aksana in 4:29.
Charlotte seemed to initially get in the ring and shout at Bayley, but it was soon all smiles as both women got their hands raised...
Backstage, Sylvester Lefort and Scott Dawson were talking when Alexander Rusev walked into the room. Lefort asked how Rusev was, but Rusev answered in Bulgarian. Lefort said tonight was about getting revenge on Mason Ryan for how he has treated Dawson. He told Rusev that if he ever has another big match like he had against Dolph Ziggler a few weeks ago, he now has someone who has his back. Lefort asked what Rusev would do to Ryan, and Rusev produced a plank of wood with “Mason” written on it, and proceeded to break it over his knee. Lefort said they were all going to make lots of money... [C]
Gutt Reaction: Awful Divas tag. Charlotte is ridiculously green, but as I explained before, NXT is now a grey area where that is more acceptable than it would be on the main roster. I can’t help but feel she is being rushed to TV however. The backstage stuff was the usual Lefort shtick, but the addition of Rusev to his stable makes a lot more sense than Dawson does. It has an Umaga/Armando Estrada vibe to it – a rich man bankrolling a monster.
[Q2] The Ascension were mid entrance when we returned. Rick Victor still has Corey Graves’ NXT Tag Title. His opponent, Graves, came out with Adrian Neville...
2. Corey Graves vs. Rick Victor. Graves viciously attacked Victor straight from the bell, raining down punches. Victor forced a break by shoving Graves’ taped ribs into the turnbuckle. Graves absorbed the rib shots to put Victor down with suplex, but didn’t fair so well after delivering a running crossbody. Victor went back to working on the ribs, dropping Graves onto the top rope before we cut to a Night of Champions teaser...
Victor dropped an elbow onto Graves’ ribs for a two count. Graves got to the corner, and managed to fight off Victor with punches, elbows, kicks and knees. He gave Victor a clothesline before signalling for the Lucky 13. Conor O’Brian got on the apron to distract him, but Neville rolled in the ring and took him off of the apron with a dropkick. Neville took out O’Brian for good with a dive over the ropes, but this allowed Victor to recover and hit Graves from behind. He put Graves on his shoulders, but as he went to throw him to the floor, Graves grabbed his head and rolled him into a pin, picking up the win...
Corey Graves defeated Rick Victor in 6:35.
Neville and Graves retreated up the ramp with both of their title belts as The Ascension stared them down from the ring...
Backstage, Sasha Banks was doing her makeup when Summer Rae walked behind and asked her if she had been thinking about how she was going to try and become “relevant” after her match with Paige next week. Banks told her to go away, accusing her of stirring up trouble for no reason. Rae said she had a reason, and went on to describe Paige, saying that by calling herself the “Anti-Diva”, she is making out that she is too good to be a Diva like her and Sasha. Summer suggested that she give Paige the beating of a lifetime, but also questioned if Sasha had the “rage” to do it...
Sami Zayn vs. Jack Swagger is tonight’s main event...[C]
Gutt Reaction: The match wasn’t worth writing home about, but it was solid enough to restore a little faith in this feud. We all know Neville can bring it in the ring, so O’Brian remains the only doubt in my mind (in terms of match quality). He tends to have a toxic effect on anybody he works with or against.
[Q3] Backstage, Renee Young introduced Paige. Young stated that Rae had got into Banks’ head. Paige retorted that she didn’t know what Rae was up to, but she also didn’t care. She said Banks was good, but she was champion, and for good reason. She went on to explain what an “Anti-Diva” was, saying she wasn’t in NXT to be a cover girl, but to cover girls in the ring. She promised to be the most dominant Diva of all time, and told Banks to run back to Rae and asked her what it’s like to wrestle Paige, because she is a fighter, and next week Banks is in for the fight of her life...
Byron Saxton was in the middle of his introduction when Lefort cut him off. He and Dawson stood on the ramp and introduced the newest addition to “The Money Making Company of Fighting Legionnaire”, “The Bulgarian Brute” Alexander Rusev. Rusev came out to the Bulgarian national anthem, carrying another plank of wood with “Mason” written on it. He did a few power stances before breaking the plank over his knee again. Mason Ryan followed him out, throwing in a few power poses of his own before the match started...
3. Mason Ryan vs. Alexander Rusev. Ryan overpowered Rusev a few times early on before rocking him with a back elbow. Ryan dropped him with a running shoulder barge, and went for another one, but Rusev countered with a spinning heel kick. Rusev dropped a series of falling headbutts on a grounded Ryan, throwing in a few to the chest too when both men stood back up. Rusev continued the assault in the corner, but Ryan sidestepped a running body splash.
Ryan picked up steam with punches and clotheslines, putting Rusev on his back with a big boot. Dawson tried to get involved from the apron, but Ryan dragged him into the ring before throwing him over the opposite rope. Lefort then got on the apron, and while Ryan was grabbing him, Rusev managed to blindside Ryan with a body splash. Ryan fell to the mat, and Rusev clamped on a Camel Clutch. Ryan tapped quickly...
Alexander Rusev defeated Mason Ryan in 3:51.
Lefort, Dawson and Rusev all celebrated the win in the ring before we cut to the outside area, where Leo Kruger stood laughing over someone. The camera panned down to show Xavier Woods holding his neck. Kruger quietly said “Ta-Ta Woodsy” before leaving... [C]
Gutt Reaction: I’m surprised Ryan was made to submit in this match considering the amount of outs he had. OK, Lefort’s distraction lead to the finish, but Ryan has been shown to be a very big dog in the NXT yard thus far, and this was a step back for him, but a big step forward for Rusev. Rusev has a lot of USPs, but some of his unique attributes (The power stances, the leather skirt etc.) can come off as a little corny. As for the backstage segment, I thought another Kruger disappearance was going to lead to a main roster debut, but at least this hold-over feud with Woods should produce some good matches.
[Q4] Zayn received a good pop for his entrance. Swagger came out with Zeb Coulter, and they made their way to the ring as we got shown a replay of last week’s attack by Swagger on Zayn...
4. Sami Zayn vs. Jack Swagger. Riley said on commentary that most technical wrestlers don’t have interview skills, but Zayn was an exception last week. Wow. Way to point out a lot of weaknesses Riley. How did that make it through the edit? The early going was fairly even until Zayn hit a heel kick. Zayn threw punches and kicks, before building up momentum for a flapjack dropkick. Swagger rolled to the outside, and Zayn went to dive onto him, only for Swagger to move out of the way. Zayn bounced off the top rope into a backflip to cancel his momentum, and the crowd popped big for it, beginning a loud “Ole, ole ole ole” chant.
Zayn did eventually follow Swagger to the outside, landing a few punches before rolling him back into the ring. Zeb distracted Zayn long enough for Swagger to recover and put Zayn down with a clothesline. Swagger worked over a seated Zayn in the corner before we cut to a UK tour promo...
Swagger did have Zayn in an Oklahoma hold when we returned, but Zayn slipped out of it and put Swagger down with a spinout sitout spinebuster for a two count. Zayn sold his shock at the kick out for a while, allowing Swagger to sneak in a Patriot Lock attempt. Zayn escaped, but got took down shortly after with a Gutwrench Powerbomb. Zayn managed to kick out at two for a good close call. Swagger successfully applied the Patriot Lock at the second attempt, and Zayn had to hold on for while before he could get to the ropes to break the hold.
Swagger tried for the Swagger Bomb, only for Zayn to get his feet up to block. Swagger retreated to the corner, where Zayn rocked him with a running big boot for another close two count. The crowd was loud in its support of Zayn as he threw punches at Swagger, beating him to the mat before pointing to the top rope. Zayn climbed up, but Swagger cut him off. Zayn managed to fight him off long enough to dive over him and put him back on the mat with a powerbomb. Following Swagger’s kick out, the cameras cut to the stage, where Dallas was shown quickly walking down to ringside. Zayn got distracted, telling Dallas he had got this, before turning into a second Patriot Lock from Swagger. He held on for a few seconds before tapping...
Jack Swagger defeated Sami Zayn in 8:43.
Dallas seemed to feign annoyance at the bottom of the stage as Zeb and Swagger did the “We, the people” bit in the ring. They repeated it on the stage before NXT went off the air...
Gutt Reaction: About as good a match as I had expected. Some of the near falls down the straight were fantastic. I know WWE comparisons are a little clique (and maybe even a little unfair), but Zayn is certainly, in my opinion, the Daniel Bryan of NXT. The man is bringing the goods in the ring every match, and the fans are reacting accordingly. His feud with Dallas also smacks of the recent Bryan/Cena feud as well, and that’s high praise for both men.
For this NXT, the only way was up. The first match had me fearing the worse, but Graves and Victor provided a solid mid-card match to further their feud, Kruger and Woods apparently started another feud (that is loaded with potential), and the final match, while not on the same level of Zayn/Cesaro, was a great TV match, bordering on PPV quality. If you’re watching online, take my advice and just start on 15.00, and you’ll enjoy a vastly superior NXT because of it.
Thanks for reading. If you have any thoughts on the article, add me on Twitter - @DazatheG
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